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Kai C. Fong – Director, Digital Marketing

1995: What is This Internet Thing?!

Armed with an education and work experience in computer hardware and local area networking, Kai came to the University of British Columbia’s ITServices unit in 1995 as a Novell Certified NetWare Engineer (CNE).

While designing, building and maintaining the server / workstation networks for many of UBC’s units and departments, Kai discovered that the University had its own internal “network”, where staff, faculty and students could easily communicate and share information and files across campus, and around the globe.

“I had heard of this Internet thing before, and even had access when internal group email became available to some companies,” says Kai. “But to be able to communicate with someone electronically, from across the street or from halfway around the world?! What is this delicious magic?” Mind blown.

Immediately thereafter, Kai scraped together the funds to build a new PC with a dial-up modem to access the public Internet. At night, he feverishly taught himself HTML and began to create beautiful (some say horrible) HTML 1.0 web pages.

Into the New Millennium: Enterprising Young Man

In late 1999, while still working with UBC ITServices on saving the University from the Y2K disaster, Kai took courses and graduated with an Internet Programming Certification from UBC. Eager to leave IT support behind and join the emerging web circus, Kai became part of UBC ITServices’ newly formed Enterprise Solutions group, which was focused on web-related projects.

As the Dot-com era started and then subsequently ended, Kai helped to implement UBC’s Campus-Wide Login (CWL) project in 2003. CWL was designed to give students, faculty and staff access to UBC’s online applications and systems (Student Information System, Library and others) with a single username and password.

“The opportunity to work on such a large and prestigious project with such an amazing team of people is something I’ll always be extremely grateful for. I learned so much about software development, project management and so much more. These skills really helped me on my career journey,” says Kai.

2007: Oh, What a Tangled Web of Sites We Weave!

As web technology advanced and tools became more powerful, robust and easier to use, Kai had the itch to get back into website development. In 2007 Kai moved to UBC Public Affairs as a Web Coordinator, managing his own portfolio of clients such as UBC Attractions, Ceremonies & Events, several Dean’s Offices and many more. During his time with Public Affairs Kai helped lead, develop and project-manage several high-profile website development projects for UBC Sustainability and UBC Alma Mater Society. Working closely with the Public Affairs communications team, Kai helped his clients develop and support their websites and web applications, as well as implementing UBC’s Common Look and Feel web branding initiative.

Leaving the Bird Coop, Taking Flight Into the Future

After 15 years at UBC, Kai was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and decided it was time to try making it in the private sector. With years of acquired skills through many IT disciplines, a healthy network of industry peers and (luckily) a few initial clients, Kai started his own web services consulting business in 2010.

While continuing to pursue web design and web development projects, Kai realized that UBC didn’t quite prepare him to transition into the real world in one very important area: that private businesses require real online marketing efforts to drive traffic to their websites, and to convert that traffic into sales of their products and services.

“Another lightbulb came on for me at that moment”, says Kai. “The more I studied digital marketing strategies for my clients, the more interested and passionate I got for the science”. Soon afterwards, Kai decided to focus full-time on digital marketing, helping his small and medium local business clients with their marketing by providing SEO, PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising), social media and email marketing services.

In 2015, Kai joined iContext as Director, Digital Marketing, where he leads the development and implementation of the B2B and B2C digital marketing strategies and campaigns for iContext’s many corporate, medium and small business clients.